Shadowdancer (Apath)

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Unofficial rules compendium

Civilized folk have always feared the night, barring themselves behind doors or comforting themselves with bonfires when the shadows grow long, rightfully wary of the creatures that prowl the darkness. Yet long ago, some learned that the best way to conquer an enemy is to embrace it. These were the first shadowdancers. Even today shadowdancers exist in the boundary between light and darkness, where they weave shadows to become half-seen artists of deception.

Publisher: Purple Duck Games.

Class Information

This is a prestige archetype.

Publisher: Purple Duck Games.

Prestige Class: Shadowdancer.

Build Class: Ninja

Role: Shadowdancers adventure for a wide variety of reasons. Many adventuring parties find shadowdancers valuable members of their teams due to their incredible stealth and ability to surprise enemies with lightning-quick attacks where they're least expected. For this reason, their services are often sought out by those groups in need of scouts or spies.

Alignment: Any. Because of their nature as visually duplicitous tricksters, shadowdancers do not fit comfortably into the lawful category, as many use their talents to avoid the eyes of legitimate authority. Yet though they are allies of darkness, shadowdancers are neither inherently evil nor predisposed to good. To them, the darkness is simply the darkness, without any of the usual moral connotations made by the unenlightened.

Hit Die: d8.

Class Skills

The shadowdancer's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Acrobatics (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Dex), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (local) (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Stealth (Dex), and Swim (Str).

Skill Ranks at Each Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Class Features

This is all the class features of the shadowdancer.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

Shadowdancers are proficient with the club, crossbow (hand, light, or heavy), dagger, dart, mace, morningstar, quarterstaff, rapier, sap, shortbow (normal and composite), and short sword. Shadowdancers are proficient with light armor but not with shields.

Safety in Darkness (Su)

The dark holds no terror for shadowdancers. The shadowdancer gains darkvision with a range of 60 ft. If the shadowdancer already has darkvision, the range of that darkvision is instead increased by +30 ft. In addition, he is immune to the side effect of any area of darkness that has a side effect, such as the choking darkness shadowdancer trick or the hungry darkness spell.

Sneak Attack (Ex)

If a shadowdancer can catch an opponent when he is unable to defend himself effectively from his attack, he can strike a vital spot for extra damage.

The shadowdancer’s attacks deal extra damage anytime his target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the shadowdancer flanks his target. This extra damage is 1d6 at 1st level, and increases by 1d6 every two shadowdancer levels thereafter. Bonus damage from sneak attacks is precision damage. Should the shadowdancer score a critical hit with a sneak attack, this precision damage is not multiplied. Ranged attacks count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet.

With a weapon that deals nonlethal damage (such as a sap, whip, or unarmed strike), a shadowdancer can make a sneak attack that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage. He cannot use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage in a sneak attack, even with the usual –4 penalty.

The shadowdancer must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot, and must be able to reach this spot. A shadowdancer cannot sneak attack while striking a creature that has concealment.

Ki Pool (Su)

At 2nd level, a shadowdancer gains a pool of ki points, supernatural energy he can use to accomplish amazing feats. The number of points in the shadowdancer’s ki pool is equal to 1/2 his shadowdancer level + his Wisdom modifier.

By spending 1 point from his ki pool, a shadowdancer can make one additional attack at his highest attack bonus, but he can do so only when making a full attack. In addition, he can spend 1 point to increase his speed by 20 feet for 1 round. Finally, a shadowdancer can spend 1 point from his ki pool to give himself a +4 insight bonus on Stealth checks for 1 round. Each of these powers is activated as a swift action. A shadowdancer can gain additional powers that consume points from his ki pool as he advances in level and by selecting certain shadowdancer tricks.

The ki pool is replenished each morning after 8 hours of rest or meditation; these hours do not need to be consecutive. If the shadowdancer possesses levels in another class that grants points to a ki pool, shadowdancer levels stack with the levels of that class to determine the total number of ki points in the combined pool, but only one ability score modifier is added to the total. The choice of which score to use is made when the second class ability is gained, and once made, the choice is set. The shadowdancer can now use ki points from this pool to power the abilities of every class he possesses that grants a ki pool.

As he advances in level, the shadowdancer learns to use his ki pool for spell-like abilities. All spell-like abilities from the ki pool ability work as if cast by a cleric of the shadowdancer’s level, and count as spells of their sorcerer spell level.

  • At level 6, as long as the shadowdancer has at least 1 point in his ki pool, he can use silent image as a spell-like ability.
  • At level 9, the shadowdancer can cast shadow conjuration and shadow step at the cost of one point from his ki pool.
  • At 12th level, he can cast shadow evocation and shadow walk at the cost of 1 point of ki.
  • At 15th level, he can cast greater shadow evocation. He can also cast shadow walk as a move action. Either use costs 2 points from his ki pool.
  • At 18th level, he can cast ‘’shades’’. He can also cast shadow walk as a swift action. Either use costs 3 points from his ki pool.

Shadowdancer Tricks

As a shadowdancer continues his training, he learns a number of tricks that allow him to confuse his foes and grant him supernatural abilities. Starting at 2nd level, a shadowdancer gains one shadowdancer trick. He gains one additional shadowdancer trick for every 2 levels attained after 2nd. Unless otherwise noted, a shadowdancer cannot select an individual trick more than once.

Acrobatic Master (Su): As a swift action, a shadowdancer with this trick can focus his ki to grant him a +20 bonus on one Acrobatics check of his choice made before the start of his next turn. Using this ability expends 1 ki point from his ki pool.

Choking Darkness (Ex): When a shadowdancer uses the darkness trick, he canspend an additional ki point to force all living creatures in the darkness must make a Fortitude save each round or become staggered for 1 round. The DC of this saving throw is equal to 10 + 1/2 the shadowdancer’s level + the shadowdancer’s Wisdom modifier. The shadowdancer must have the darkness trick before selecting this trick.

Combat Trick: A shadowdancer who selects this trick gains a bonus combat feat whose prerequisites he fulfills. This trick can be selected several times.

Darkness (Sp):' The shadowdancer adds darkness to the list of spell like abilities he can use, at a cost of one ki point. This effect is heightened (as the Heighten Spell feat) to a spell level equal to half the shadowdancer’s level (up to spell level 9). The shadowdancer must be at least 6th level to learn this trick.

Darkvision (Su): This trick allows the shadowdancer to use his ki to enhance his sight, giving him low-light vision and increasing the range of his darkvision by 60 feet. Using this trick is a standard action that costs 1 ki point. The enhanced senses last for 1 hour.

Fast Stealth (Ex): A shadowdancer with this trick can move at full speed using the Stealth skill without penalty.

Feather Fall (Su): As an immediate action, the shadowdancer can slow his descent as if using feather fall. This ability uses his shadowdancer level as the caster level. Each use of this ability uses up 1 ki point.

High Jumper (Ex): When a shadowdancer with this trick makes a high jump, the DC for that jump is half the normal DC. The shadowdancer must have the acrobatic master trick before taking this talent.

Incorporeal Defense (Su): By spending 1 ki point as a swift action, the shadowdancer gains immunity to non-magical physical damage and takes half damage from magical physical attacks for 1 round. Force effects, ghost touch weapons, incorporeal attacks, and other effects that specifically do full damage to incorporeal creatures bypass this protection. He is not otherwise considered incorporeal, and cannot pass through solid objects.

Nondetection (sp): The shadowdancer adds nondetection to the list of spell like abilities he can use, at a cost of one ki point. The shadowdancer must be at least 6th level to learn this trick.

Release Shadow (Su): The shadowdancer can release his shadow as a swift action at the cost of 1 ki point. This acts as summon monster spell and summons a shadow, except that the creature is a construct (not an undead), inflicts 1d6 points of hit point damage instead of Strength damage, and lacks the create spawn ability. It must end each of its turns in sight of the shadowdancer or be destroyed. For every two class levels the shadowdancer gains beyond level 6, the shadow gains +2 hit dice, +13 hit points, and a +1 bonus to AC, attack, damage and all saves. The added hit dice have no effect in themselves, they just makes the creature stronger for the purpose of effects related to hit dice. As long as his shadow is released, the shadowdancer casts no shadow, and he can only have one summoned shadow at a time. The shadowdancer must be at least level 6 to learn this trick.

See the Unseen (Sp): A shadowdancer with this trick learns how to see that which cannot be seen. As a swift action, the shadowdancer can cast see invisibility with a duration of one minute per level, using his level as the caster level. Each use of this ability uses up 1 ki point.

Shadow Clone (Su): The shadowdancer can create shadowy duplicates of himself that conceal his true location. Add mirror image to the list of spell like abilities he can use, at a cost of one ki point. The shadowdancer must be at least 6th level to learn this trick.

Slow Reactions (Ex): Opponents that are damaged by the shadowdancer’s sneak attack can’t make attacks of opportunity for 1 round.

Vanishing Trick (Sp): As a swift action, the shadowdancer can cast vanish as a cleric of his class level. Using this ability uses 1 ki point.

Ventriloquism (Su): As a swift action, the shadowdancer can throw his voice as if using the spell ventriloquism. He can use this ability for 1 minute per shadowdancer level. Each use of this ability uses up 1 ki point.

Wall Climber (Su): The shadowdancer adds spider climb to the list of spell like abilities he can use, at a cost of one ki point. The shadowdancer must be at least 6th level to learn this trick.

Evasion (Su)

At 3rd level, a shadowdancer gains evasion. If exposed to any effect that normally allows him to attempt a Reflex saving throw for half damage, he takes no damage with a successful saving throw. The evasion ability can only be used if the shadowdancer is wearing light armor or no armor.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex)

Starting at 4th level, a shadowdancer can react to danger before his senses would normally allow him to do so. He cannot be caught flat-footed, nor does he lose his Dexterity bonus to AC if the attacker is invisible. He still loses his Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized. A shadowdancer with this ability can still lose his Dexterity bonus to AC if an opponent successfully uses the feint action against him.

If a shadowdancer already possesses uncanny dodge from a different class, he automatically gains improved uncanny dodge instead.

Hide in Plain Sight (Su)

A shadowdancer of 5th level can use the Stealth skill even while being observed. As long as he is within 10 feet of an area of dim light, a shadowdancer can hide himself from view in the open without anything to actually hide behind. He cannot, however, hide in his own shadow.

Shadow Steps (Ex)

At 6th level, a shadowdancer learns to move while barely touching the surface underneath. As a full-round action, he can move up to twice his speed, ignoring difficult terrain. While moving in this way, any surface will support him, no matter how much he weighs. This allows him to move across water, lava, or even the thinnest tree branches. He must end his move on a surface that can support him normally, or risk a fall. He cannot move across air in this way, nor can he walk up walls or other vertical surfaces. When moving in this way, he does not take damage from surfaces or hazards that react to being touched, such as lava or caltrops, nor does he need to make Acrobatics checks to avoid falling on slippery or rough surfaces. Finally, when using shadow steps, the shadowdancer ignores any mechanical traps that use a location-based trigger.

Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex)

At 8th level, a shadowdancer can no longer be flanked. This defense denies another creature the ability to sneak attack the shadowdancer by flanking him, unless the attacker has at least four more levels in classes that grants sneak attack than the target has levels in classes that grant uncanny dodge.

Master Tricks

At 10th level, and every two levels thereafter, a shadowdancer can select one of the following master tricks in place of a shadowdancer trick.

Blinding Darkness (Ex): Whenever the shadowdancer uses the darkness trick, all living creatures in the area must make a Fortitude save or be blinded by the darkness for 1d4 rounds. The DC of this saving throw is equal to 10 + 1/2 the shadowdancer’s level + the shadowdancer’s Wisdom modifier. Blinding darkness costs one ki point to use, beyond the cost of the darkness trick. This trick cannot be combined with a choking darkness. The shadowdancer must know the darkness trick before selecting this one.

Feat: A shadowdancer may gain any feat that he qualifies for in place of an advanced shadowdancer trick.

Ghost Step (Su): When using the incorporeal defense trick, the shadowdancer can pass through walls like a ghost. Until the end of his turn, he can pass through a wall or other surface that is up to 1 foot thick per level as if he were incorporeal. He must exit the solid material by the end of his turn. The shadowdancer must know the incorporeal defense trick to select this trick.

Incorporeal Attack (Su): By spending 2 ki points as a swift action, the shadowdancer gains the ability to make his melee attacks as incorporeal touch attacks. Incorporeal touch attacks ignore armor, natural armor, and shield bonuses to armor class, except that force armor and armor with the ghost touch property protect fully against them. In addition, the shadowdancer’s attacks cause full damage to ethereal and incorporeal creatures. The effect lasts until the end of the shadowdancer’s turn. If the shadowdancer knows the incorporeal defense trick, he can activate both effects with a single swift action, but must pay the ki cost separately for each.

Invisible Blade (Su): Whenever a shadowdancer uses the vanishing trick, he is treated as if he were under the effects of greater invisibility. The shadowdancer must know the vanishing trick before learning this one.

Shadow Split (Sp): This trick allows the shadowdancer to cast mislead. The saving throw to disbelieve the glamer part of this is 10 + 1/2 the shadowdancer's level + the shadowdancers Wisdom modifier. Each use of this ability uses up 1 ki point. The shadowdancer must possess the shadow clone shadowdancer trick before selecting this trick.

Silent Shadow Step (Su): After using shadow step from his ki pool, the shadowdancer can make a Stealth check to hide, and this Stealth check suffers no penalties for the shadowdancers actions earlier in the round.

Shadow Swarm (Sp): When he uses release shadow, the shadowdancer can pay one additional ki point each to summon additional shadows, up to his Wisdom bonus in number (minimum 2). He cannot use release shadow again until all the summoned shadows are gone. He must know release shadow to learn this trick.

Unbound Steps (Su): This trick allows a shadowdancer to use his ki to walk through the air. Whenever the shadowdancer uses the shadow steps class feature, he can walk on air, rising or descending as he desires. He must end his move on a solid surface or risk falling. Each use of this ability uses up 1 ki point.

Shadow Master (Su)

At 20th level, whenever a shadowdancer is in an area of dim light, he gains DR 10/— and a +2 luck bonus on all saving throws. In addition, whenever he successfully scores a critical hit against a foe who is in an area of dim light, that foe is blinded for 1d6 rounds.

Table: Shadowdancer

Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1st +0 +0 +2 +0 Safety in darkness, sneak attack +1d6
2nd +1 +0 +3 +0 Ki pool, shadowdancer trick
3rd +2 +1 +3 +1 Evasion, sneak attack +2d6
4th +3 +1 +4 +1 Shadowdancer trick, uncanny dodge
5th +3 +1 +4 +1 Hide in plain sight, sneak attack +3d6
6th +4 +2 +5 +2 Shadow steps, ki pool (silent image), shadowdancer trick
7th +5 +2 +5 +2 Sneak attack +4d6
8th +6/+1 +2 +6 +2 Improved uncanny dodge, shadowdancer trick
9th +6/+1 +3 +6 +3 ki pool (shadow conjuration, shadow step), sneak attack +5d6
10th +7/+2 +3 +7 +3 Master tricks, shadowdancer trick
11th +8/+3 +3 +7 +3 Sneak attack +6d6
12th +9/+4 +4 +8 +4 Ki pool (shadow evocation, shadow walk), shadowdancer trick, shadow move
13th +9/+4 +4 +8 +4 Sneak attack +7d6
14th +10/+5 +4 +9 +4 Shadowdancer trick
15th +11/+6/+1 +5 +9 +5 Ki pool (greater shadow evocation, move action shadow step), sneak attack +8d6
16th +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +5 Shadowdancer trick
17th +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +5 Sneak attack +9d6
18th +13/+8/+3 +6 +11 +6 Ki pool (shades, swift action shadow step), shadowdancer trick
19th +14/+9/+4 +6 +11 +6 Sneak attack +10d6
20th +15/+10/+5 +6 +12 +6 Shadowdancer trick, shadow master

Note: What is Shadows?

Shadowdancers and their ilk have several abilities that work in dim light. This means just what it says; the ability works neither in light nor in total darkness, but only in shadows and dim light. GMs are encouraged to allow these abilities to be used in any area of contrasting light and darkness; in the stark shadows cast by bright light and in the mirk of darkness broken by a tiny flame or elusive reflection. As long as it makes sense for shadows to exist, these abilities work.

Favored Class Bonuses

Instead of receiving an additional skill rank or hit point whenever he gains a level in a class of shadowdancer, the following races have the option of choosing an alternate bonus depending on their race.

'Dwarf: Add a +1/2 bonus on Disable Device checks regarding stone traps and a +1/2 bonus to trap sense regarding stone traps.

Elf: Add +1 to the shadowdancer’s base speed. In combat this option has no effect unless the shadowdancer has selected it five times (or another increment of five).

Gnome: Add +1 bonus on Acrobatics checks to make a running jump.

Half-Elf: Add a +1 bonus on Sleight of Hand checks to conceal objects.

Half-Orc: Add +1/3 on critical hit confirmation rolls made while using sneak attack (maximum bonus of +5). This bonus does not stack with Critical Focus.

Halfling: Add a +1 bonus to the shadowdancer’s CMD to resist grapples and trips.

Human: The shadowdancer gains +1/6 of a new shadowdancer trick.


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